Pedestrians are always at some risk of getting hit by a car or truck while crossing the street. The risk can be especially high at night, when some drivers fail to compensate for darker conditions by failing to slow down or be sufficiently vigilant. There may be more drunk drivers on the roads at night also, further increasing the chances of a pedestrian accident.

Another common factor in nighttime pedestrian collisions is a lack of street lighting. Some intersections, particularly in suburban and rural areas, can be quite dim because city or county officials have not put up enough streetlights. The results for pedestrians can be life-altering if they get hit by a car and sustain severe injuries.

The sad effects of walking in underlit streets

In an example from here in Texas, a 34-year-old man suffered major injuries throughout his body earlier this year when he was hit by a motor vehicle while walking at night. Besides broken bones and torn ligaments in both legs, the man sustained a serious brain injury that affected the left side of his body, as well as his ability to recognize relatives. His prognosis is uncertain.

The victim’s aunt laid much of the blame on poor lighting at the scene of the incident. The director of public works for Corpus Christi, where the accident occurred, admitted his city needs to do more to keep intersections properly illuminated so that pedestrians are better protected.

That is an issue everywhere, including here in San Antonio. Dark sidewalks and street corners put pedestrians at unacceptable risk. This does not absolve drivers of their responsibility to adjust their speed for conditions and to focus on the road. But it can add an element of liability if negligent maintenance of the road by the city or county contributed to the accident that harmed you.